June 21, 2024

As the scorching summer heat increases risk of heat-based illnesses, people are finding relief in natural coolers like fruit juices and other hydrating foods. Sugarcane juice is quite popular in summer as it helps beat the heat by naturally cooling the body and aids in replenishing the lost electrolytes. However, on the downside, sugarcane juice being high in sugar can be unhealthy for people with diabetes and raises the risk of chronic diseases when consumed in excess. ICMR, in its recently release guidelines, advised reducing the consumption of sugarcane juice, which is extensively consumed in India during summer and is high in sugar. (Also read: Drink sattu with lemon on empty stomach for these 10 amazing benefits)

Is sugarcane juice unhealthy for us?

Sugarcane juice is quite popular in summer as it helps beat the heat by naturally cooling the body and aids in replenishing the lost electrolytes. (Adobe Stock)

“Undoubtedly, sugarcane juice is a popular and refreshing beverage. However, its high sugar content necessitates caution, as it can lead to excessive calorie and sugar intake. Evidence shows that excessive consumption can spike blood glucose levels, increasing the risk of diabetes, heart problems, metabolic disorders, and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, we advise moderation when consuming sugarcane juice and being mindful of overall sugar intake for a healthy life,” says Dr Suparna Mukherjee, Charge of Clinical Nutrition, Narayana Health City, Bangalore.

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Excessive intake of sugarcane can be problematic as it may lead to increased weight gain, blood sugar level or tooth decay.

How much sugar does a sugarcane have?

“Sugarcane is scientifically known as Saccharum officinarum from the ponceau family. There are varieties of sugarcane that grow around in different parts of India. Sugarcane juice is the liquid extracted from pressed sugarcane. It is consumed as a beverage in many places especially where sugarcane is commercially grown. It comprises of water 70-75% of water, 13-15% of Sucrose, and 10-15% fibre. Sugarcane contains carbohydrates, protein, vitamin A, B- complex and C, minerals like phosphorus, calcium, potassium zinc and iron. It has antioxidants such as flavonoids and polyphenolic compounds, it is a good source of fibre,” says M. Kavitha, Dietary HOD, Prashanth Multispeciality Hospital, Chennai.

Nutritional Information

Serving size: 100 ml

Energy – 70.4 kcals, protein- 0.1g, carbohydrate- 17.5g, total sugar- 17.15g, added sugar- 0g, total fat- 0g, saturated fat- 0g, trans fat- 0g, calcium- 18mg, sodium- 121mg, potassium- 63mg.

“Staying hydrated with water without sugar herbal teas or green tea, detox water and other low-sugar beverages e.g. butter milk is a healthier alternative for quenching thirst during hot weather. Additionally, people should prioritise balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, which provides essential nutrients without the excessive sugar load,” adds Dr Mukherjee.

Sugarcane juice: Benefits and side effects

M. Kavitha shares other health benefits and side effects of sugarcane juice for health

Health benefits of sugarcane juice

1. Energy booster: It is a natural source of sucrose that is the powerhouse of our energy. It normalises the release of glucose in our body to regain lost sugar levels. It hydrates our body and reduces fatigue.

2. Helps fight jaundice: Sugarcane juice may help with jaundice according to Ayurveda. It also helps combat weakness.

3. Helps treat UTI infections, kidney stones: Diuretic in nature, it helps to eliminate toxins and infections from our body. It aids in treatment of urinary tract infections and kidney stones.

4. Improves digestion: Sugarcane juice facilitates the secretion of digestive juices and keeps the system on track. It is also high in potassium that balances the PH levels in the stomach.

5. Graceful ageing: Sugarcane juice is an excellent remedy for anti-ageing and fine skin lines, and helps in moisturing the skin and making it soft and glowing.

6. Immunity booster: Sugarcane juice is a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants that may boost your immunity.

7. Helpful in pregnancy: Sugarcane juice contains essential nutrients like folic acid, Vitamin- B complex, antioxidants and calcium.

Side effects of sugarcane juice

1. It causes some side effects like dizziness, insomnia, and excessive weight loss.

2. Excessive intake may lead to increased weight gain, blood sugar level or tooth decay.

3. An ingredient called polycocanal present in sugarcane can cause insomnia, upset stomach, dizziness, headaches and weight loss in some people.

4. If your digestive system is already weak, try to avoid sugarcane juice due to the presence of polycocanal that may cause vomiting, dizziness, diarrhoea along with the abdominal pain.

5. Too much consumption can cause weight gain, blood sugar fluctuation and also tooth decay.

6. Diabetics and pregnant women with gestational diabetes should avoid drinking sugarcane juice. It affects the baby which is called spina bifida.

7. Sugarcane may lead to pollen allergies. Due to the exposure, the pollens may cause allergic rhinitis which is itching and discharge in the nose.

8. If consumed excessively, it can also cause blood thinning and can affect cholesterol levels in the blood.

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